What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
1. MLS from ALA accredited school is essential.
2. Relevant experience. Don’t tell me about your shelving job! Don’t tell me you were a page at a public library mending books. I need to know if you have ever managed people, or conducted training of any kind. And don’t try to fake it. Managing a volunteer who arranged books in alpha order isn’t supervising people.
3. Initiative. Show me your creativity, your approach to a problem, your grants and special programs. Show me you do more than your reference job entails.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Lack of attention to the details of completing the application, spell-checking, current phone number of references.
Showing up unprepared for our job in the interview.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Some people don’t bother to clean up the cover letters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten letters with another library’s name in the body of the letter! I appreciate that many apps go out at one time, but please, at least take a moment to change from Cleveland to our library.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Only one!
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
√ No preference, as long as I can open it
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ As an attachment only
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Know what you are talking about. Have done some research on our institution. We think we are special!!! At least look at the webpage and see what we are doing–adult programs, kids programs, teen programs, resources pages…find out a little about us if you’ve gotten this far [interview]
Be prepared with questions of your own–don’t focus on salary or benefits. We want to hear your concerns, what puzzles you about the job, etc.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Don’t expand on questions that should have more than yes or no. We tend to ask situational questions, so they need to be thoughtful, not flip in the responses. We ask people to prepare a response to 3 questions ahead of time and use these for staff seminar. It’s very interesting to see how people handle this.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
We have become more and more picky about who we interview, what we are looking for.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Be prepared! Be honest. Don’t try to tell me you’ve done great things and not have documentation to back it up. I have lots of contacts in the field and there are legal ways to find out why you really left a previous job!